Unless the workplace is unionized, there is no set order in which employees need to be recalled. The recalls can happen according to the needs of the business, but employers must be careful not to let any protected human rights grounds such as age, disability, family status etc. factor into their decision-making. Ontario’s Human Rights Commission has also put forth that an individual’s actual or perceived status with regard to COVID-19 infection should be considered a protected human rights ground.
While the rules can be hazy in some provinces on how to recall workers, recall notices should always be given in writing as a matter of best practice. Employers should let employees know the day that they are expected to return to work, and that their failure to return to work will be interpreted as a resignation from their position.
Employees should also be informed of any changes that have taken place within their position, such as if their location of work has changed or if they will be permanently working from home. Employers should note though that any significant change to the working relationship must be met with the employee’s approval, otherwise the employer may be risking a claim of constructive dismissal.